Saa Andrew : Butunneh Banda
He was forced out of his village in Africa because of diamond-fueled civil war. He moved to a crowded refugee camp in Gambia, where he slept on a tarp and survived on cornmeal. He, his father, step mother, and siblings made it to Canada thanks to the UN. This is the story of Saa Andrew Gbongbor, a Sierra Leonean refugee, a Canadian citizen since July 1st, a student at STU, and a musician. "It's for fun, entertainment and also the message. ... I'm dancing praises to the most high, praises for the people around me, the people singing and dancing." When Gbongbor was still a child in Sierra Leone, he saw members of his family murdered by rebels. Conditions were terrible and his family got a chance to leave; they had to take it. "Everybody was terrified in the village. Even if you prepared your meal ... (the rebels are) going to come and sit and say oh thank you let's come and eat together. And you have to smile. If you refuse, it's bad for you." But his mother didn't have the same chance to go. She was captured by the rebels; she's is a nurse and they needed medical support. She managed to escape during a battle, but Gbongbor hasn't seen her for 9 years. They've talked a few time, but phone service is unreliable where she's living. It was 1998 when Gbongbor arrived at the refugee camp. He was 15, and that's where he got his inspiration to play music. "When I was back in the refugee camp, what I listened to what a lot of reggae music and other music. Every day I listen to this and get this radio inside me about life in the refugee camp. That was the only way I could survive day by day. That's how I started liking music." So he started to play music. The Sierra Leonean national airline liked his stuff, and asked him to record a jingle. They loved it, and thought he could do something more. So they put him in a recording studio "They say just go tell the people to send us the bill. I don't know how they pay anything; I just go to studio ready to sing."